Last summer, Northeast Alabama Community College expanded its student activity inventory by adding the Mustang Gaming Esports team. Students at NACC were extremely receptive of the new Esports opportunity, and the club has grown rapidly.
At this time, Mustang Gaming is made up of four teams, one of those being the Invitational Team. This team is comprised of eight students, and they play Rainbow Six Siege on PC. This team qualified for and competed in the Invitational Season last semester and were ranked 6th in the nation. This semester, they again qualified for the Invitational Season and are currently ranked first in the nation!
Because they played in and won every qualifier game, this team had the best record and the highest win percentage. Their competitions are “Best of 3.” During the qualifiers, the Rainbow Six Siege team won every single game. In other words, they are 8-0 in games this semester, or 4-0 in matches. They played qualifier matches against the following teams: Dawson Community College in Montana, Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, North Dakota State College of Science, and State Tech College in Missouri.
Aside from the Invitational Team, there are other teams for various game titles. Teams range from individual competitions to teams of five. Students may compete against schools across the country and in Canada. There are currently four teams nearly ninety students are active in the Esports Discord channel, meaning those students have an interest in playing and potentially competing. Twenty students are actively competing on teams.
“We are very pleased to offer the Esports opportunity to our students,” stated NACC President Dr. David Campbell. “Esports helps students hone their skills in technology, and we at Northeast strive to be at the cutting edge in providing technology and its application for our students.”
NACC’s Esports Teams compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE), the national governing body for two-year college esports in the United States. The NJCAAE provides two-year college esports teams with governance, competition, and official national championships.
"We anticipate that some of these students will be recruited or accepted into esports programs at four-year institutions after graduating from NACC," said Esports coach Bryon Miller. Miller serves as Esports Coach with Noah Allen being the Assistant Esports Coach.
Additionally, NACC's teams play and compete in an Esports lab that was custom-built for gaming! NACC President Dr. David Campbell and the staff at Northeast wanted to ensure Mustang Gaming was set up for success from the inception of this new program.
"We owe very much to our staff for getting this preprogram started,” stated Dr. Campbell. “Our IT Director Patricia Falk came up with the idea and advised the college on what equipment to purchase, as did Cybersecurity Instructor Bryon Miller. Computer Technicians Lee Garret, Noah Allen, and Kyle Ealy work closely with the team, as does Mr. Miller. The college rehabbed a room and bought special computers and equipment just for the competition, and the college bought special seating just for the players to use during competition. It was all money well spent, as we consider Esports to be the cutting edge of the new sports coming on the American scene. Speaking of sports, we like the old ones as well and are adding more of them!"
Esports Coach Bryon Miller says students will continue to gain a wide array of skills as the program expands. “Depending on the game title, players will need to communicate effectively and efficiently, cooperate to achieve game objectives, commit to attending practices and games on time, and keep up their grades in their classes to remain eligible. Additionally, Team Captains will develop the ability to organize teams, schedule practices and scrimmages, review and analyze games and statistics, and assist the team when preparing for games. Other roles we hope to include moving forward will include Commentators, Analysts, and Video Editors. These roles with also help students develop high-demand, technical, and interpersonal skills that will help them in the workforce.”
Northeast is constantly improving the student experience, which translates directly to students completing their degree program. Miller also spoke to Esports’s efforts in keeping students on track. “Several students have mentioned how esports has kept them engaged at NACC and connected with staff and students here. We know that connections and engagement drive retention, so we expect that all our student-athletes will complete their degrees,” said Miller.
If you or someone you know may be interested in Esports at Northeast, please contact coach firstname.lastname@example.org.
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